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2002 News from Mecklenburg County

August 22, 2002


Charlotte, NC – The Mecklenburg County Health Department has received test results confirming a mosquito pool collected from the 28211 zip code has tested positive for West Nile virus.  It’s one of 111 pools sent to the state lab for analysis.  Lab tests also show that seven of the 20 most recent birds collected in Mecklenburg County have also tested positive for West Nile.  

Of the birds testing positive (six American crows and one blue jay), five were from the 28211 zip, one was from 28209 the other from 28210.  The positive mosquito pool was collected near where officials collected another bird that tested positive for West Nile. 

Public Health Pest Management Program Chief Dennis Salmen says it’s not surprising that West Nile positive mosquitoes were found in Mecklenburg County.  “This just verifies what we had expected,” says Salmen, “that we have local transmission of the virus between mosquitoes and birds.” 

So far this year, 19 birds collected in Mecklenburg County have tested positive for West Nile virus; 16 of those birds have come from the 28211 zip.  The state is no longer testing birds from 28211, but the Mecklenburg County Health Department still wants to hear from people in that area in order to track the number of dead birds. 

There have not been any human cases of West Nile virus reported in North Carolina this year.  But the presence of the virus should prompt people to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and limit the available mosquito breeding ground on their property. 

The elderly, young children and those with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk for developing complications from West Nile virus.  Those in these highest risk groups should take particular caution to limit their exposure to mosquito bites.  Long sleeves and long pants should be worn outdoors, as should mosquito repellants containing DEET.  Activity during the early morning and at dusk should be limited as this is when mosquitoes are most active, too. Property owners should keep outdoor water containers like buckets, old tires or animal drinking bowls emptied or full of fresh water in order to keep mosquitoes from breeding in them. 

For more information about protecting yourself and eliminating mosquito-breeding areas on your property, log onto the Health Department’ s Web site .  Look for the “Skeeter Defeater” logo. 

To report mosquito problems, call the Health Department’s Public Health Pest Management Program at 704-336-5101.  To report dead birds call the Department’s dead bird hotline at 704-353-0350. 

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